Police in the US state of North Dakota arrested dozens during pipeline protests

October 23, 2016 9:30 pm

Protesters are confronted by police near a pipeline being built by a group of companies led by Energy Transfer Partners LP at a construction site, , October 22, 2016. (Photos by Reuters)

Police in the state of North Dakota have clashed with a group of Native Americans demonstrating the construction of a pipeline, taking many of them into custody.
At least 83 protesters were arrested during a peaceful gathering near the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on Saturday, after police tried to disperse them using pepper spray.
According to the Morton County Sheriff’s department, the arrests were made on various charges ranging from assault on a police officer to rioting and criminal trespass.
Nearly 300 people had gathered at the site, which was heavily guarded by a police line. The sheriff’s department claimed that the demonstrators were marching toward the construction equipment.
The 1,100-mile (1,770-km) pipeline is a $3.7-billion project which would be the first to transport crude oil from Bakken shale, a vast oil formation in North Dakota, to refineries in the US Gulf Coast.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, along with more than 100 other tribes, landowners and environmental activists, have been voicing opposition to the project.
There are fears that the project could destroy sacred tribal sites while also endangering drinking water for thousands of tribal members and millions more downstream.
However, the tribes’ attempts to take legal action against the project have led to nowhere.
A US federal judge ruled in September that the construction of the pipeline should continue, rejecting a request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to halt the work.
Judge James Boasberg said that the tribe had not adequately shown the project would destroy “sites of cultural and historical significance.”
This is not the first time that a protest against the pipeline has turned violent.
In early September, Energy Transfer, the company in charge of constructing DAPL, unleashed dogs on a group of Native Americans who were the project.
At least six protesters were viciously bitten by the canines, tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear said, adding that over 30 others were pepper-sprayed in the face.
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